Home > Buying a home, Mortgages, Supply and Demand, Uncategorized > Realtor Expectations – Part Two: THE BUYER’S AGENT

Realtor Expectations – Part Two: THE BUYER’S AGENT

Again, this article is built on the premise that the number of Realtors to choose from is staggering.  Most people have one or more acquaintances that are “in the business” – or they know someone who has a sibling, spouse or parent who sells Real Estate.  It’s great to know the Realtor’s name, but what else does your friend or relative know about them?  A name and a business card don’t tell you all that you need to know.

No matter how you come across the name of a Realtor, you owe it to yourself to do your due diligence and learn about their business practices before choosing one.  Here are some of the things that you should expect from a Realtor when they are acting as your Buyer’s agent.

A Buyer’s agent is a Realtor who you choose to represent you in your search for a new home.  In most states you will likely have to sign an agreement with that agent in order for him to represent you.   This is known as “Buyer Agency”.  While it is an overstatement to say that you’ll be “stuck” with the agent once your engage them (there are always ways to get out of most agreements), remember that you are making a commitment to work with that Realtor throughout the entire process of your home search – so choose carefully.

So – what are the things that a Buyer’s agent should be doing to make your search and transaction a great experience?

BUYER COUNSELING:   Your first meeting with your Realtor should include more than just looking at houses. This first meeting, must include you getting a clear understanding of the entire home buying process and your Realtor should be learning as much as he can about your specific needs and plans.

SEARCHING FOR LISTINGS:  There are dozens, maybe hundreds of sources to search for listings. Every day these resources are becoming more and more elegant ant sophisticated.  On my own website I offer three separate options.  The fact that there are so many resources available can make it difficult to decide which one to use.  After getting to know you, your Realtor should be able to recommend certain avenues for listing searches that will fit your needs and your style.

  • Search on your own: Some home shoppers prefer to spend a great deal of time on the internet and seek out matching listings themselves.  I have one client who has logged into a particular search site 2015 times since I set up his account last fall.  He communicates with me about things that pique his interest and I dig for further data to help him make a decision about whether to look at the home.
  • Realtor searches for you:  Some home shoppers don’t even own computers – or they have neither the time nor the inclination to use their computer to search for home. If this is you, then you need a Realtor who will spend time and get a very clear profile of what you want, pull listings and provide you with the details in whatever format you want.

Most folks fall somewhere in between those two extremes.  Make sure that you choose a Realtor who is comfortable and competent working the way you want to work.

QUALIFYING LISTINGS:  This is the next step after you have found prospective homes that fall within your stated search parameters. The information in a Real Estate listing can only tell you so much.

One example:

A listing, for example might say “Great access to highway”.

That might be a  plus to some buyers but it might not matter to you – however – you might be very concerned with the noise level in the neighborhood.  If noise is a very important factor for you then you probably want to know if having great highway access also means that you are going to hear traffic noise.  It might not – but you aren’t going to find out from the listing. So, your agent can research it for you.  Perhaps he knows the street already and can tell you off the bat – or perhaps he needs to call the other Realtor or take a drive by the house and check it out.

There are lots of other examples. The point here is that simply finding the listing may or may not tell you about all the things that are crucial to you.  Once your Realtor knows your likes and dislikes he can dig deeper and give you the additional information before you waste your time looking at places that aren’t going to work for you.

NEGOTIATING: I covered a lot about this in a previous post – the key here is to make sure that you are in sync with the Realtor – there should be no surprises.

Once you find a house, the Realtor should pull “comps” and go over them with you so you can have an idea if the listing price is somewhat in range of market value or if it is overpriced.

Well before you reach this point, your Realtor should sit with you and map out various scenarios and explain the options.  A few examples:

  • What if a house is significantly overpriced?  Do you make a single bid that is at market value and stand with it, or are you going to make an offer well below, which may be perceived as a “lowball” by the seller?
  • What if your opening bid is very reasonable and the seller refuses to make a counter offer?  Are you going to make a second offer?
  • What if you go through several rounds of bidding then find that you and the seller are deadlocked a few thousand dollars apart?

It isn’t necessary that you make firm decisions on these and other scenarios in advance – but your Realtor should have laid the possibilities out for you early in the game so you can consider your options. In the heat of a negotiation you should be executing your well thought out strategy – not developing one.

POST SALE: Once you make a successful bid on a house, you will be dealing with lots of other people:  Home Inspector, Septic Inspector, Attorney, Loan Originator, and Loan Processor – to name some of them.  Your Realtor’s “official” role is ending.  Having said that, however he can and should assume the role of “expeditor”, staying in touch with everyone and keeping track of who is where in the process so that you have an advocate should there be an unexpected wrinkle.

SUMMARY: Generally speaking, you should choose someone you feel comfortable with but that comfort should come from you knowing that your Realtor has a plan to work with you from beginning to end at your pace; following your style and helping you make the most of your home shopping experience.

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